Ethical and Moral Issues in Business
Ethics and moral are not things that commonly cross a person’s mind, unless there is an ethical or moral issue. In ethical and moral issues, people begin to question the ethics and morals or the person or people in the middle of the questioning. This paper will define the differences between ethical and moral issues, the differences between personal and business ethics, and will provide examples of common ethical problems in business.
Differences in Ethical and Moral Issues. The “Dictionary. com” (2012) website defines ethics as the rules and conduct recognized to a particular class of human actions. Ethics is how people act and behave in public and how it’s accepted. Society dictates the ethics and what is and is not accepted in society. Ethics are what most people would commonly consider to be what is right and what is wrong. Ethics may change as society changes and what once may have been acceptable may no longer be acceptable and vice versa.
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Just because something is not illegal, the action may not be ethical or accepted by society. According to “Dictionary. com” (2012), “moral is pertaining to or concerned with the principle rules” (para. 1). Morals are generally taught by a person’s parents and family. Morals can define a person’s honesty or dishonesty. Everyone has heard of the voice in a person’s head, telling them what is right and what is wrong; that is actually the person’s morals helping direct them to what is right and what is wrong.
Some people find themselves answering questions on what their friends or family would think if they found out about the decision they made; this helps some people make the right or moral decision. Differences in Personal and Business Ethics Personal ethics are the ethics that apply to a particular person and may vary between people. Personal ethics are established based on religion, culture, family, and beliefs. Personal ethics are a code that a person holds themselves up to; the person’s code may include trust, honesty, loyalty, ntegrity, responsibility, and being courteous. Personal ethics will change from person to person and no one person’s personal ethics are better than another’s. Personal ethics begin to develop for a person from a very early age, when the person begins to think and act for themselves. According to “Dictionary. com” (2012), “business ethics is the study and examination of moral and social responsibility in relation to business practices and decision-making in business” (para. 1).
A person may be asked to conduct business in a way that goes against their personal ethics. If businesses operate using ethics that are wrong or could be called into question the business could lose money from clients or investors or could even be shut down. Examples of Ethical Problems in Business There are several examples of each of the aforementioned ethical and moral issues people face every day. This section will provide some of those examples as they pertain to ethical problems in business. An ethical situation a business may face is discrimination.
Employees, including potential employees, are protected from an employer or potential employer discriminating against them based on age, disability, equal pay, genetic information, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, retaliation, sex, and sexual harassment (USA. gov, n. d. ). It is important that a business upholds the standards of the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission so the businesses decision to hire or not to hire a person is not called into question. Personal ethics vary between each person in a business and should be made known.
If a person is asked to complete a task or do something such as lie to a client about a shipment and it goes against a person’s personal ethics, the person should politely and professionally let it be known they are not comfortable completing the task at hand. A business within reason should not ask a person to go against their personal ethics. Business ethics could be called into question if there are accounts reported of favoritism or business being conducted for personal gain. Favoritism includes allowing certain employees to take extra breaks or longer lunches than other employees.
Personal gain includes hiring a family member’s company to complete a task for the company. The above examples are not illegal, but could be considered unethical business behavior. Conclusion There is a fine line when it comes down to business ethics. Ethics and morals carry an important role on how business is conducted. It is essential for an employer to operate ethically for the business to be successful. Any business that is called into question for unethical behavior may not be able to recover from the negativity the behavior and questioning brings.
Dictionary.com. (2012). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/business+ethics?s=t Dictionary.com. (2012). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ethics?s=t Dictionary.com. (2012). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/moral?s=t USA.gov. (n.d.). U.S. Equal Employment. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/index.cfm